A 28-year-old man who spent six years at Windhoek Correctional facility mirrored on how he participated in a gang rape while at school as a teenage boy destroyed his life.
At the time, Uazengua Tjamuaha was a young 14-year-old when he responded to calls by his friends who he found sexually violating a school girl in their hostel room.
Tjamuaha was released from Windhoek’s correctional facility last year December. Today he speaks a message of hope and encouragement to fellow youth hoping to discourage fellow young people not to participate in activities that will compromise their future.
After spending time at the correctional facility, Tjamuaha said he learnt a great lesson from that incident- not to please people without considering the consequence.
Tjamuaha shared his testimony on Friday at the #Break Free outreach campaign which falls under the office of the first lady. They organized the event in collaborating with Hope Initiatives Southern Africa (HISA) in Kilimanjaro informal settlements alongside stakeholders such as the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA), Walvis Bay Corridor, Society for Family Health (SFH) and Women’s Action for Development, Regain Trust and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The event purpose was to share messages of anti-violence in informal space and in language the community understand. This promoted the initiative of translating the anti-violence pledge from English into four local languages which are Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Rukwangali and Afrikaans.
Tjamuaha narrated he found three of his school mates participating in the act in their hostel room.
His friends invited him and he joined. The boys were arrested following their action but released because they were minors. But Tjamuaha was sentenced when he was 22-years.
Unfortunately, he said people blamed the girl for the incident- statements which they supported.
Equally, they also faced criticism from fellow school mates and teachers and as a result Tjamuaha dropped out of school in grade nine. But while at the facility, he participated in the vocational training where he did upholstery and plumbing.
“We destroyed her life and ours too because we lost our school from there. Sometimes as young people we do things as if we are playing which destroyed our lives and other people lives. I went to prison when I was 22-years-old and released last year December,” said Tjamuaha, who added that he is trying to get on his feet.
Tjamuaha has been partaking in #BeFree campaign since 2016. But his family, friends and co-inmates at the correctional facility were against it and questioning why he was doing.
But he said: “I am ashamed of what I did. But I am doing this (activism) because it will help the young ones,” said Tjamuaha.
He further called on parents to stand up for their children especial if they leave them in care of relatives to raise them. Tjamuaha said he was raised by his grandparents but there were people around who were breadwinners who condemned them. “That is what kills self-esteem in the person- undermining a person- even if you fail at one small thing. They would say, you are useless and will be like your mother. This kind of things break people.”
Speaking on the side of the programme is First Lady Moncia Geingos whose office coordinates #Breakfree campaign. Geingos said the programme has had an impact on the community and the Tjamuaha speaking at the event is a reflection of that .
Geingos said Tjamuaha was present at the launch at Club London in 2016 while serving time at correctional facility and he is released now. “He continues to engage with us despite some pressure he faces. The #Befree and #Breakfree (campagins)- you have noticed – we don’t attached our names. It is bigger than us and the youth have taken ownership of these programmes and we allow them to do that.”
Geingos added issues brought at the fore by the youth at these platforms are: prevalent substance abuse among youth, sexual violence, unresolved trauma from childhood especially from forced sexual experience , press pressure and bullying amongst others.
2020-03-10 08:52:56 | 26 days ago